Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections: Ahmed Patel wins, a look at all that happenedhttps://indianexpress.com/photos/india-news/gujarat-rajya-sabha-elections-ahmed-patel-wins-a-look-at-all-that-happened-amit-shah-smriti-irani-4788665/

Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections: Ahmed Patel wins, a look at all that happened

The Election Commission of India (ECI) invoked Article 324 of the Constitution to revoke the decision of its Returning Officer (RO) in the state and declare invalid the votes cast by two Congress MLAs.

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Following a dramatic series of events that lasted till the wee hours of Wednesday, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel was re-elected to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat along with BJP president Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani. (PTI photo)

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Patel polled 44 votes, the required number to cross the line after the Election Commission declared two votes cast by rebel Congress legislators invalid. Shah and Irani received 46 votes each. Express photo by Javed Raja

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Congress, veteran leader Shankarsinh Vaghela, who recently quit from all posts, announced that he hadn’t voted for the party candidate as he “wasn’t going to win”. Express photo by Javed Raja

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The Congress filed two applications for rejection of votes tendered by two MLAs, Bhola Bhai Gohil and Raghav Bhai Patel, for violating the polling procedures. The party claimed the MLAs had shown their ballot papers to Amit Shah. Express photo by Javed Raja

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After the petition was first rejected by the Returning Officer, a delegation of Congress leaders including party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala and former minister RPN Singh met with Election Commission officials in New Delhi and raised objections to the RO’s decision. Express photo by Javed Raja

They submitted that their allegations could be reviewed using video footage of the voting. Ahmed Patel also e-mailed the Commission requesting cancellation of the two votes. (PTI photo)

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Swinging into action, the BJP sent its own representatives, including Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad to convince the Commission to proceed with counting. Express photo by Javed Raja

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In the words of the EC, the leaders “added that the concept of secrecy in the elections to the Rajya Sabha is no more valid because the Parliament itself has made elections to the Rajya Sabha through open ballot.” Express photo by Javed Raja

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The ping-pong match did not end here, as Congress subsequently sent a second delegation led by Ghulam Nabi Azad to reiterate their demand to the Commission. And then, Jaitley met the Commission for a second time, again calling for commencement of the counting of vote. Express photo by Javed Raja

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In a huge sigh of relief for the Congress, the two votes were disqualified. This meant, Ahmed Patel now required only 44 votes to secure a fifth term in Rajya Sabha. Express photo by Javed Raja

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With celebration at both quarters put on hold, the EC began counting the votes at close to midnight. Patel expressed “confidence” and “optimism” in winning. (PTI photo)